Worldly Pursuits: A Bangladeshi’s View

Worldly Pursuits: A Bangladeshi’s View Photo by | Jason Kaplan

With a pair of highly educated parents — his father has two master’s degrees, his mother one — Rafid Chowdhury started prepping for college early.


“My parents sent me to the English school at great sacrifice,” says the 25-year-old Bangladesh native.

His grades were good enough to get into Oxford or Cambridge, but Chowdhury picked Oregon State University.

Curriculum played a role in his decision.

But a scholarship package, including an International Cultural Service Program (ICSP) scholarship that requires students give presentations on their home countries, cemented the choice.

RELATED STORY: Worldly Pursuits — How foreign students are shoring up Oregon universities, for now

Chowdhury graduated this year with a Bachelor in physics and mathematics and is looking for data analyst work while waiting for OPT approval. His job search is concentrated on the West Coast.

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“I like the culture, and the people are more accepting of foreigners,” he says.

“I’m sure there are nice people in red states, but I wouldn’t consider living there. I don’t want to stand out all of the time.”

Still, the policies, tone and threatening rhetoric coming from the Trump administration concern Chowdhury.

While he plans on getting a master’s or a Ph.D. eventually, the current political climate is widening Chowdhury’s view.

“I’m inspired to be a comedian,” he says, pointing to “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah as a role model.

Or perhaps politics. “Angela Merkel has a Ph.D. in physics, you know.”

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